Movie Review: Vacation (2015)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2015 comedy starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate.

Synopsis: Feeling his life and marriage are caught in a rut, Rusty Griswold decides to follow in his dad's footsteps by taking his family on a cross-country road trip to Wally World. Much like his dad, things don't go as planned and, in order to complete their journey, they need to first overcome a bunch of obstacles that threaten to ruin their vacation.


When I first heard about this movie, I had some serious doubts about it. However, after seeing the previews for it, I ended up warming up to it a bit and, ultimately, ended up watching it with my wife last night. Unfortunately, after seeing this film, I'm now convinced my first instincts were correct.

To be fair, the movie did have some funny moments. I personally liked the "Albanian" van Rusty (Helms) rented for their road trip and all the little surprises they discovered while driving it. And, his accident with that steer was also a bit unexpected and funny.

However, while there were some funny moments, the rest of the film honestly seemed to lack the magic the original Vacation films had.

For one, there is an awful lot of swearing in this film. I probably wouldn't have minded it that much except for the fact the bulk up it came out of the mouth of their youngest child, Kevin (Stebbins). I don't know why Hollywood writers seem to think a child having the mouth of a sailor is funny. But, it just isn't. In fact, after the first 20 minutes, he was starting to irritate me to the point I seriously considered turning the movie off.

Also, considering this was a movie about a family vacation, there really wasn't a whole lot of focus on family bonding. Instead, the film seemed to be more about Rusty and his wife, Debbie (Applegate), trying to rekindle the spark in their marriage with plenty of discussion about where they should try to have sex. Again, that isn't something I'm necessarily opposed to in small quantities. But, I did feel it became a bit too much of the focus though, admittedly, it also led to one of the funnier moments in the film when they attempt to have sex on top the Four Corners Monument.

Final Opinion

I'm not sure if I would describe this film as a sequel or a reboot but, in either case, this movie lacked the charisma and charm the original Vacation films had. Even the cameo appearance by Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo and the reintroduction of the original Griswold Wagon Queen Family Truckster weren't enough to make this movie as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. 

My Grade: C

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Updated: 01/23/2016, StevenHelmer
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